Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Higgins is getting Centered

Not only is Chris Higgins off the suicide watch - he's looking at a promotion. Well, sort of anyway. For the first 15 games, Chris' goal scoring was... well... The truth is - there was no goal scoring at all from Chris in his first 15 games.

That's when we started the suicide watch. And poor Chris began to look like he was actually losing his mind. He started getting this desperate wild look in his eyes. The smile - even the smirk - was gone. Just this haunted thousand mile stare (see photo above).

Finally - after many near misses – 6 minutes into his 16th game against the Vancouver Canucks, Higgins took a feed from Dubinsky and Drury and fired a 14 footer that beat Andrew Raycroft. Popped the net and sounded the buzzer.

Higgins didn't even look happy. He looked up at the rafters, just profoundly relieved that the nightmare was over. And the very next game, against Edmonton this time, Higgins got the go-ahead goal in a 4-2 win over the Oilers – a 26 footer that beat Nikolai Khabibulin.

This time Higgins finally began to look like a mentally stable hockey player – if there is such a thing. And all the talks and encouragement from Coach Tortorella and all the hard work seems to be paying off. He's producing physically on the ice and emotionally he's getting more "centered". In fact - he may be getting more Centered in more ways than one.

Here's why: The Calgary Flames not only beat us Saturday Night, they knocked out two of our Centers. First Drury was blindsided by Glencross and is out with a concussion. And then Brandon Dubinsky's hand was broken by a slapshot and he'll be out from 3-6 weeks.

That leaves a void at the crucial center position. And Glen Sather (Ranger's GM) has an idea of who can step into that role:

“Higgins has played center before, he’s perfectly capable of doing it,” Sather told a reporter this week. “You’re better off letting your people have an opportunity and see what they can do.”

So that probably means Prospal keeps centering the first line – Higgins steps in to center line 2 – Anisimov anchors the third line and Boyle heads up the 4th. It's a nice step up for Chris. Just a few days ago he looked like he was going to blow his head off – and now he's taking face offs. We here at Blueshirt Brothers like the move and wish him the best of luck.
Where We Stand: as of Wednesday morning the Rangers remain the 5th seed in the Eastern conference - trailing the (much hated) Devils by 1 point and leading the (much hated) Flyers by 2.

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